Macau has a long history. Rua da Felicidade is one of them. It is Macau’s former red light district and also how the Portuguese street got its name “Street of Happiness” from its former seedy, heady colonial past. Walking here in the morning is such a joyful relaxation; people can feel the strong atmosphere of history from the green doors. Rua da Felicidade was built in the middle age of the Qing dynasty by the Macao governor-general. Two rich merchants and developed it into an entertainment street. Rua da Felicidade was divided into two parts. One is a cluster of brothels and teahouses while another part is a perfect place for taking drugs and drinking. So it was also called “the Paradise for men”. Once you come here, you’ll find that the street is preserved so well by the government that as if you have come back to the period hundreds of years ago. Any visitor can feel as if time has stood still and be able to imagine, far away from the modern casinos and shopping malls, how life might have looked like for ordinary people in old Macau.
熟悉澳门昔日情况的人，听到这条“福隆新街”，立即就想到是澳门著名的红灯区，是在清同治年间由福建商人开发而形成的热闹地段，有商铺、酒家、戏院，还有妓馆、烟馆进驻，是特定族群的花花世界。当时有不少的巨贾富商、世家子弟前往寻欢作乐，福隆新街葡文“Rua da Felicidade”亦有欢乐街之意。当时整条福隆新街，可分为上、下两段，上半段是妓院，下半段是烟室、赌馆及酒家。
At the end of the Rua da Felicidade is Fat Siu Lau, one of Macau’s oldest and most popular restaurants which was opened in 1903. As a former Portuguese colony, the Portuguese cuisine was to serve government officials and business tycoons, especially for the Portuguese. Fat Siu Lau was one of the famous spots for these high-end customers to meet in the past.
In the past at daytime, the Rua da Felicidade was like any other street in the "Bazar" area of Macau. In the early hours, the windows of the houses remained shut as their dwellers rested from the night’s travails. In the afternoon one began to hear the sound of people playing mah-jong, while music echoed from the "flower houses" – the sound of sing-song girls practicing their fine arts of entertainment. The district awoke to life and prepared for the nightly business.
There are many cheap hotels, of which the most famous one is the Sanva Hotel built in 1873. Being one of the most beautiful hotels in Macau, it is a well-known film location. In 2006, 18-year-old Hong Kong actress Isabella Leong won the best actress in the 27th Portugal International Film Festival with the film Isabella, and Isabella mainly found the view in the Sanva Hotel.
In addition, the film "Butterfly" starring Josie, daughter of the Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho, and the film "2046" directed by Karwai Wong were all filmed at this hotel. The actor and actress, Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi stayed in Room 2047 and 2046. Other famous celebrities Faye Wong, Gong Li, Carina Lau, Takuya Kimura, and Zhang Manyu had once lingered there many times too.
Today, the decadent world of vice and pleasure of Rua da Felicidade has vanished forever. The former brothels have been renovated and turned into restaurants, shops, guesthouses and café’s. The "Street of Happiness" has become an invaluable historic site, the only intact brothel district in China, with a unique architecture and atmosphere. It is still called the Street of Happiness, but a different and more chaste kind of happiness now.